A Focus on Insect Invasions 2014-11-27
Insect invasions are growing in number and distribution rapidly. They increasingly threaten agriculture and forestry globally and are consequently a major focus of research in most research programmes in FABI. Key questions regarding these invasions are those concerning their the "drivers", "mechanisms" and "impacts". Thus, research teams in many parts of the world are working actively to better understand these processes. During the week of the 20th November, Dr Jeff Garnas, Dr Brett Hurley and Prof Mike Wingfield joined colleagues from various parts of the world to debate these issues at a focused workshop organized by members of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Ivasion Biology (C.I.B) based at Stellenbosch University. The workshop was organized by Dr. Matt Hill, a postdoctoral fellow with a passion for the subject of insect invasions and who will co-ordinate the production of numerous research papers that will emerge from the event. Meeting participants included various collaborators of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) and the Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB), both based at FABI. Notably, Dr Andrew (Sandy) Liebhold of the USDA Forest Service based at Morgantown West Virginia, who has worked with FABI researchers including those dealing with the Sirex wood wasp invasion, presented the plenary address that provided a great "kick off" for the workshop. The meeting was also attended by Dartmouth student Flora Krivak-Tetley who is working with the TPCP team on a global Sirex project funded by the USDA Forest Service. In all, this workshop provided many new ideas and directions for future research and community engagement that are sure to lead to solutions to slow a growing global crisis.